16 January 2011

The Groceries

Get ready to cringe. I'm going to be really, REALLY real here. I hope you weren't expecting the beans, rice and homemade pasta discussion.

We eat sugar cereal for breakfast. Woodjie will ask for "mah-yeh-yoes?" and that means I will have to get the marshmallow cereal. Sometimes I will get "oot-oots," otherwise known as Fruit Loops. Sometimes I even have "ah-tarts"available, but once I give out Pop-Tarts, some little kid will ask for them at every single meal. And I think the sugar cereal is sooo much more healthy because I can sprinkle Cheerios and dried corn in. (Really. Being real here, ok? I warned you.)

Having several autistic children about, and a couple children with food allergies to boot, makes it veryyy difficult to have anything approaching a normal diet. I used to make casseroles and real bread and mac-n-cheese the same as the next mom back in the day. BUT... those days are over. For a good while, Elf simply wouldn't eat if the food wasn't what he wanted. We're not talking a little brattiness here... we're talking a ten-pound loss on a five-year-old. So yes, I will serve peanut butter sandwiches if that keeps my children from literally starving themselves over time. You just don't know what I'm talking about if you don't have children like this. (Note plural noun in previous sentence. It's HARD.)

G has an affinity for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He is obsessed with squeezable jelly. Have you ever seen a 6ft 3 fellow try to fly? Well, that's sort of what he looks like; he gets so excited about squeezable jelly. Grape. He squeezes it and puts the top bread on himself. I keep refilling the sqeezy-jar constantly with new jelly.We go through about 6 to 8 loaves of bread a week, which is reallllly a lot, considering two of my children are allergic to the milk in the bread and can't eat it.

Not to mention that Rose... well, I haven't really blogged about this. Rose is getting special help because she has a weakness on her left side. She has trouble swallowing and eating certain foods. Part of it is "sensory" (sorry I haven't felt up to blogging this but, some providers are noticing "eye contact" and "language issues;" maybe I will cry later because I know what that means) and part of it is that she needs to know where the food is in her mouth so she can swallow it well.She can eat mushy things like applesauce that can be swallowed without chewing, or semicrispy things like dry cereal, but NOT peanut butter sandwiches that are sticky and hard to move about the mouth or things that are TOO hard muscle-wise to chew up like raw carrots.

So... she's interesting. How much is sensory stuff and how much her weakness, even her speech therapist cannot tell. You must cut everything to look like a french fry and feed her crackers and/or cereal and pop tarts... or she will not eat. Things cannot be warm. Or cold. All must be at room temperature. Come to think of it, I think I *will* cry later. Typing this out was hard. We've been asked to go to the hospital and do a "motility" study (or "swallow" study) but I think we'll skip it. It sounds expensive and and besides, it's something I can't take five other children to do. Could you imagine Woodjie even TRYING to sit still and quiet near the equipment? Easier to keep feeding Rose crackers... I sort of live day to day. I do the best I can.

Lunches are usually peanut butter sandwiches for Elf and Emperor, and cereal and a sandwich for Woodjie. Rose gets cereal and a piece of bread, crackers and milk. I try to give apple slices or another fruit at some point during the day. Almost all the children have a severe aversion to vegetables. If they're forced to eat them (or are overly coerced; I sure don't stuff it down their throats!) some of them have vomited in the past... they just can't do it. I can get away with some of the expensive "Just Corn" stuff on occasion. It's a godsend.

Frequently dinner is microwaved soft pretzels for smaller children, and chicken or pizza rolls for older children. Woodjie's bus usually arrives close to 5:15 in the afternoon, so by the time he's bathed and able to come downstairs, it's really too late to heat up the oven and cook something. Not to mention, he's screaming "Eat-a-EAT!" through the whole bathing process. He just can't wait well. The pretzels must be broken in tiny pieces for Rose, but Woodjie is learning to take bites of his food. I will often put a side of cashews or other interesting food on the side.We go through a lot of milk and soy milk, and eat almost only prepared/microwavable foods.

Our budget is something along the lines of $250 a week at Sam's Club. Mind you, this includes our diapers and the food D and I eat as well. We also spend about $70 a week at Wal-Mart as well. This includes our cleaning supplies, shampoo and an occasional pack of socks, that sort of thing. D also drinks about three or four 2-liters of pop each day. It adds up.On weekends, we try to make better foods. D can cook those big hamburgers with all the fixings, and I've made tater tots. D was saying that the children would not want to have tater tots at lunch AND dinner today, but they all got eaten. I let all of Rose's tater tots cool off in a bowl before I served them, and everyone else got theirs served warm. Elf (who hates potatoes) ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I think at every meal, someone is eating sandwiches.

Ok, so now you know. :)


  1. Thanks for the interesting glimpse into your grocery habits. I do my best to feed my brood healthy food, but there are times when it just isn't going to happen.

    As for picky eaters, I am blessed to have well rounded ones. There are foods they won't eat and the babe has had a few times in the recent past when he only wanted particular items (bananas and bread.) But, they will eat from all the different food groups most days.

  2. I understand the reasons, but still cringe at the thought of such a limited diet. Still, at least they're eating something. There's no point in giving things like veg if you have to watch them starve because they can't eat them.
    D has 4-6 litres of pop a day?? Is he restricted in his diet too? or is that just a personal preference of his? My daughter is the same. Her only drink, all day, every day, is Diet Coke

  3. I love reading your blog and my son is eating bread, cereal bars, rice cakes, hamburgers, fries, nuggets, and I think that's it, oh yea cookies and cinnamon buns occasionally. He has autism and he is 5. He seems to have some food intolerences, and aversions. You are not alone.

  4. I don't know what to say about Rose. Sometimes, crying and getting through the day is the only thing you can do. Praying for comfort as you learn more about Rose and her needs.

  5. Oh, dear friend! That sounds very overwhelming. We each have those things that seem harder than anything... until we hear someone else's story. I have always been so thankful that Nutkin eats so well - other than not being able to handle tougher meat well the first 3-4 years of life. Yet, I sometimes wish he wouldn't eat fresh veggies and fruits galore when he can't go to the bathroom by himself, and I have to deal with the "end" result (so to speak, ahem) several times a day. ;o)

    Thank you for sharing and being real. I will pray for sweet little Rose.

  6. Jeffrey would not eat if his food was touching each other
    spaghetti and meatballs meant 3 dishes
    1 for the pasta, 1 for the meatballs and 1 for the sauce that he would then dip in

    forget about peas and carrots!!!

    after his Dad left when he was 3 he wanted his bottle back for awhile and I gave it to him

    adults need understanding and ways to cope why should children be any different

  7. Laura, bananas and bread sounds healthy, if a bit bland.

    River, I feel the same way! D doesn't have a restricted diet; he just has the habit like your daughter...

    Hi, Lisa! I'm sure my children would love doughnuts and the like if they weren't allergic to eggs and milk. Same with cookies. We could really get some calories going there...

    Tammy, thank you. :)

    Sue, Nutkin being so much older, I need to stop grousing about Woodjie not going. But it's tough because I could easily see this going on forever!!

    Dianne, we have several round school lunch-type trays that the children eat from. Separates all the food perfectly. I think people get way too judge-y about what works for our children. He seems to have turned out all right! :)

  8. Mrs C, if there is ever any sort of voting process where we all decide who should be nominated for sainthood - you have my vote.

    Thanks for being so honest - we spend a FORTUNE at the grocery store/WalMart/Costco too. Probably over $1200 a month. I don't understand how people who can do $250 a month do it.

  9. I'm really surprised that your food budget isn't shockingly higher considering all of the different food aversions/allergies and issues that you are dealing with!

    I'm sorry that there are 'things' coming up with Rosie. :( Is drinking an issue for her at all as far as choking? Do you have to use Thick It for her?

    How in the world does your husband sleep at all after ingesting THAT much soda???? I would be a bouncing ulcer after a week of that. :)

  10. Like Blondee I was surprised that your food budget isn't higher. I think you are doing pretty well at finding things the kids will eat, that they can eat. It can't be easy. None of them looks too skinny. We still have to add Carnation Instant Breakfast to Olivia's milk for a calorie boost, because she is such a picky eater. Ian is picky too, but eats more. So sorry about sweet little Rosie's troubles. I had no idea asking about groceries would be so hard. Thank you for sharing. As always--you are in our thoughts and prayers.

  11. OK, my dear Mrs. C. I confess.

    I cringed.


  12. One of the children I care for is a three year old boy with autism and this sounds very much like his diet. There are things he simply WILL NOT eat and there's no point trying to force the issue, it's simply a fact of life.


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